Biomass refers to biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production.
It most commonly refers to plant matter grown for use as biofuels, but it does include plant or animal matter used for the production of fibres, chemicals or heat.
Bioenergy does not include fossil fuels, which have taken millions of years to accumulate. The emissions from the combustion of biomass are cleaner than the emissions created by burning fossil fuels, as biomass will only release CO2 absorbed when growing. However, biomass can only be classed as truly renewable or carbon neutral when the rate of planting equals or exceeds the rate of use. Most modern biomass boilers have efficiencies of around 90% and a near zero carbon footprint. However carbon savings are dependant on the type of fuel replaced.
Department of the Environment - Working for a Greener Tomorrow
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